Type of Document Dissertation Author Bhattacharjee, Bonny Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-01032008-153043 Title Factors Affecting Computer Use Among Older Adult Users: A Study in the Backdrop of Florida State University. Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Information Studies, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Barbara Palmer Committee Chair Corinne Jorgensen Committee Chair Darrell Burke Committee Chair Don Latham Committee Chair Maria-Chavez Hernandez Committee Chair Keywords
- Doing Techniques
Date of Defense 2007-10-30 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
The purpose of the present study lay in considering and providing accurate descriptions of the factors known to encourage or alternatively discourage computer usage among older employees within an academic setting.
Primarily, the two independent variables of the study are age-related-infirmity (W/WT), and computer-anxiety. The dependent variable of the study is barriers-to-computer-use. The literature review reveals that age–related –infirmity (W/WT), a variable with two levels with age-related infirmity and without age-related-infirmity represents impairments which come with old age and which are known to intervene with the possibility of a smooth computer interaction, for older users. Computer-anxiety, the other independent variable, is known as a common emotional response to computers.
A review of the literature demonstrated that the predictor variable of the independent variable age-related-infirmity (W/WT) is age, and the predictor variables of the independent variables computer-anxiety are: age (positive or direct linear relationship) gender - represented at two levels; male (positive or direct linear relationship), female (negative or inverse linear relationship); income (negative or inverse linear relationship); education (negative or inverse linear relationship); computer -ownership represented at two levels owner (negative or inverse relationship) and non-owner (positive or direct linear relationship); (computer) experience (negative or inverse linear relationship); and the dichotomous variable disability –represented at two levels disabled (direct linear or positive relationship) and not-disabled (negative or inverse linear relationship).
The research dealt with an important user group, the older adult users of computer technology. What makes the older adults an important subsection of the United States’ population, and the subject matter of studies such as this one, are their expanding numbers and their growing economic strength. Despite this, however, the chasm between the older adults and information technologies continues to bother experts. The author of the study believes that technological backwardness of older adults can only harm their interests and make them vulnerable to societal discrimination and subject them to perpetual backwardness. Thus the need of the hour should be about focusing on the factors and forces which affect the possibilities of a digital divide among the potential older users of computer technology, with the ultimate aim of weeding these forces out totally. This is what this study intends to do.
The research sought answers to the following questions: whether there is a dichotomous relationship between the predictor variable gender (M/F) and the variable computer-anxiety; whether there is a relationship between the variable computer-anxiety, and each of the demographic variables (on a separate basis), income, education, and (computer) experience; whether the dichotomous variable computer-ownership (O/NO) has a two-fold relationship with the variable computer-anxiety; whether the demographic variable age affects the variable computer-anxiety in a direct fashion. The first hypothesis stated that the variable age has a two-fold relationship with the variable age-related-infirmity (W/WT). The second hypothesis stated that there is a direct linear relationship between the variable computer-anxiety and the variable barriers-to-computer-use, and the third hypothesis assumed that the variable age-related-infirmity (W/WT) has a two-fold relationship with the dependent variable barriers-to-computer-use.
The data for the study was collected through the use of a survey questionnaires modified from previous studies; a survey questionnaire devised by the author herself in the aftermath of reviewing the literature; and a demographic questionnaire. The study employed a stratified random sampling technique in selecting the study’s sample who were Florida State University’s (FSU) permanent employees in the age group of 55 years or older. Statistical analysis was conducted using SPSS. Data analysis revealed that for this population, the variable gender (M/F) does not have an effect on the variable computer-anxiety; it demonstrated a statistically significant negative or inverse linear relationship between the variables income and computer-anxiety; no significant relationship was found to exist between the variables education and computer-anxiety; analysis proved that there is a negative or inverse linear relationship between the variables (computer) experience and computer-anxiety; the variable computer-ownership (NO) was found to have a direct linear or positive relationship with the variable computer-anxiety, and the variable computer-ownership (O) was found to have an inverse linear or negative relationship with the variable computer-anxiety; the variable disability (D/ND) was not found to have any relationship with the variable computer-anxiety; and also the variable age was not found to be correlated with the variable computer-anxiety. However, the study was successful in establishing the fact that the variable computer-anxiety is positively related (implying a direct linear relationship) to the independent variable barriers-to-computer-use, although it failed to prove that the other independent variable age-related-infirmity (W/WT) has any relationship with the study’s outcome variable barriers-to-computer-use.
Any future research should replicate the study among people of varying backgrounds and employment status. The study’s significance lay in endorsing the precise nature of relationships which literature review confirms as being in existence between each of the predictor variables income, (computer) experience, and computer ownership (O/NO), and the response variable computer-anxiety. At the same time the study’s results were successful in proving that computer-anxiety is a barrier factor for computer technology access. This is quite important if we keep in mind the fact that the data for the study was gathered from a relatively well-off and an atypical older adult population; who differed considerably from the general older adults, in terms of their income and education.
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